Black Dyke Band

MICHAEL DRAKE King's Lynn Festival - King's Lynn Corn Exchange

MICHAEL DRAKE

There will not be many more exciting events during the King's Lynn Festival than Sunday evening's opener from the world famous brass band.

Sponsored by the EDP, the first concert in a fortnight's programming of wide appeal, the scene was set with a specially composed King's Lynn Fanfare by the band's composer-in-residence, Philip Wilby, who also heard premiere of his Concerto For Horn — one of a sequence of solo pieces — in which soloist Lesley Howie displayed a warm, often soulful tone among the virtuoso playing. And completing the trio of “firsts” was Philip Harper's Legend of Sangret, an amalgam of Western and Indian music — testing, rhythmic, brash even in which players were finally asked to “bend it like Black Dyke” in a largely extemporised finale. Who would dare select this as a test piece for competitions?

The band, conducted by Dr Nicholas Childs, who also introduced items in amusing fashion, didn't miss a trick in movements from Arnold's Scottish Dances nor in the glorious sounds from the tuba upwards in Elgar's Severn Suite. The tuba also featured large in an arrangement of Monti's Czardas with extraordinary skill (and subtlety) from Joseph Cook while the trombone soloist, Brett Baker, brought a lump to the throat for his interpretation of Dark Eyes. The big band sound and Roger Webster's skill on the cornet and the whole cornet section revelled in Harry James' Trumpet Blues — all showed the band's versatility. And what a climax with Wagner's Procession to the Minster and the showpiece The Waltonion encore.

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